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2006 April

Easter Weekend In Photos

April 17, 2006

All the Eggs

And no, it doesn’t wash off.

The Colored Hands

What holiday would be complete without baseball?

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Or dancing?

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And what easter basket would be complete without whoopie cushions and redneck teeth?

Redneck teeth

And no holiday is complete in this family without me spending lots of time making something only to have it go untouched by my husband’s family, most likely because it doesn’t contain Velveeta or corn flakes or cool whip or some other non-food food.

Easter Bread

Unfortunately there are no photos of the sugar frenzy and resulting sugar comas the children experienced, because nothing says holiday quite like that.

Posted by Chris @ 10:22 am | 28 Comments  

Sixteen Months

April 13, 2006

Wearing A Hat

This month you have begun saying “NO” which is kind of cute. Cute in the way that you shake your head back and forth vigorously while saying, “OooooooOooooo” You say no to everything even things you actually do want.

“Miles, do you want a cookie?”

“OoooooooOooooooo,” you answer shaking your head and swatting at the offending cookie that I dare to offer to you. By your reaction one would think I had offered you a dung patty as a snack.

A few minutes later you will walk over to the cabinet, point your little finger up to where the cookies are kept, and scream. A scream that says, “NOW, I want a cookie, bitch. You will obey.” You are drunk on your own power.

It has become warm enough the past few days to get out our summer clothes and sandals. You have been wearing shorts, which really are nothing more than very baggy pants that end just above your socks.

Feet

Your second toe on both your feet sticks up slightly and crosses over the big toe. It is almost as if the toe has no bones, like it is a little jello toe. I want to bite it off and eat it, that is how delicious I think it is. I know that one day when you are a preteen or teenager you won’t like it and will probably be embarrassed of it and refuse to wear sandals. I hope not, but I was that age once and remember clearly how anything that seemed the slightest bit different than the norm seemed like a glaring imperfection that the entire world was staring at.

Overalls

The past week you had been sleeping really well, for you anyway, and it was wonderful. But two days ago you got whatever illness is making it’s rounds now and for the past two nights you have been up numerous times crying, wanting to nurse, wanting to snuggle, wanting to make sure we all felt your pain. And we do. Trust me.

The other night you were in our bed and I got fed up with your kicking me in the stomach and pulling my hair. You were refusing to sleep. So I picked you up and put you in the porta-crib that is in our room. You couldn’t believe I would dare to put you there. You began screaming. But after about 20 seconds you would pause to listen and see if we were coming to get you out. Then you would scream again for another 20 seconds.

After doing that a few times you began yelling, “Daaaa-deeee Daaaa-deeee” Then you would pause long enough to hear your father and I trying to stifle our giggles. Rob called back to you, “Sleepy time. Go to sleep.” There was a pause where we thought perhaps you were heeding his words, when out of the darkness we heard, “Ooooooooo Oooooooo” And the rustling sound I was hearing led me to believe that you were shaking your head as forcefully as you could while laying down.

This past year I was a part of a book panel on sleep issues. I received my advance copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. I read through the book and felt like my picture should be in there with a big red X over it with the warning “NO!!” There was a lot of discussion in the book about training and avoiding sleep issues in preschoolers/toddlers by training babies to sleep. So many parents seemed worried that if their six month old wasn’t sleeping through the night it meant that six years later they would still be waking up all night long. For the record, I have never had a six year old who didn’t sleep through the night.

Oldest and Youngest

As I read through the book I realized that my answers and responses to the questions would have been very different had I answered them eleven years ago. I was much more anal and schedule oriented back then. Once again I found myself thinking that you really get the better end of the deal. I have already crossed all those parenting dilemma bridges. I have made my choices and moved on. I feel confident with my choices. I’m a much more laid back parent than I was eleven years ago.

Your cousin will soon be having a baby. As I listen to her talk about her pregnancy and baby, say with certainty the things she will and won’t do, and condemn the choices that other parents have made, I just smile and nod. I’ve been a mother long enough now to know that there are no absolutes.

I just have to look at your oldest brother who, for the first two years of his life, never had sugar, meat, or anything non-organic pass his lips. His butt was swathed in unbleached organic cotton diapers. He played with only non toxic wooden toys made from wood that was harvested in an environmentally friendly manner. I just want to slap my old self righteous self and hand her a hamburger and diet coke. Clearly all those vegetables were harming her brain.

Whenever I feel like I know it all, I have just to remember the scorn I felt towards parents who fed their babies Honey-Nut Cheerios, while I watch you eat a chocolate pop tart… off the floor. I have eaten my own words so often it is no wonder my ass is as big as it is.

I am a different mother than I imagined I would be, and certainly a different mother than I was when your oldest brother was your age. Some of the changes are because I have more experience, some are because I am more relaxed, and who are we kidding, some are because I am lazier. Most of them are because I realized that in the grand scheme of things, whatever it is doesn’t matter.

Playing cars

You love to take out all of our spice jars and tupperware and stack them all up into high towers. Then you stand up and kick them all down. Sometimes you will chase a rolling spice jar across the room and give it a few more kicks for good measure, the entire time squealing with glee. This game is something none of your siblings were ever allowed to play, and is yet another example of how I have mellowed. My motto these days is, “I can clean it up later”

Little Man

Soon you’ll be a big kid, I can already see it happening, and you’ll be able to express your ideas, play games, ride a bike, wear Superman pajamas with a cape, and while I look forward to all those things and finding out more about your personality, there are things I will miss about you as a baby.

I’ll miss the weight of your body sleeping on my chest and you little heart shaped open mouth snoring. I will miss you stilted gait as you try to run away from me. I will miss your short bowed little legs, with the dimpled fat on your thighs that is perfect for kissing. ( Why can’t the dimpled fat on my thighs be as cute?) I will miss the way you enthusiastically raise your hands up in the air over your head when I say “Hurray!” and I’ll miss how even with your arms stretched up you can barely reach the top of your head.

There are quite a few things I will miss. This is just one of them:

DIMPLY FINGERS

As long as you have those dimpled knuckles I can still call you a baby.

I love you Mina-moo moo. I don’t know why your sister insists on calling you that nickname, but it has stuck, for the time being at least.

Posted by Chris @ 10:31 am | 55 Comments  

Boredom as the Catalyst for Creativity

April 11, 2006

I’ve got a new post up over at dotmoms.

Go read about our summer plans.

Posted by Chris @ 4:04 pm | 7 Comments  

Spring Has Sprung

April 10, 2006

Spring is my favorite season. It is the time when I plan my gardens, and flowers, and landscaping and I actually manage to convince myself that this year I will take care of the flowers and not let them wither and die by the first of August. This is on my forty before forty list, so maybe this year will be the year, she says enthusiastically!

It’s the time of year when I long to do something creative outside and get dirt under my finger nails. My mouth waters thinking of the juicy tomato salad I’ll make from my own home grown tomatoes, and the balsamic and basil vinaigrette that I’ll make from basil grown in my herb garden. This year, I tell myself, I will not allow my herb garden to be overtaken by weeds to the point where I stand there, scratching my head, clueless until I am finally forced to pull everything out of the ground and toss it away into the compost pile.

The reality is that most of the tomatoes will be picked by grimy little hands when they are green, hard and golf ball size and I will have to put them on my windowsill to turn red, or mold die, which ever comes first.

I like to imagine myself as one of those women who has a beautiful garden, cans fresh produce, and walks around the yard with those cute garden clogs and gloves, snipping here and there. The reality is that I don’t really like getting dirty and I have never canned a thing in my life. I do covet those cute garden clogs, but I’d feel like a complete poser if I were to wear them around my yard. As well as feeling exceedingly guilty for all the dead plants and flowers in my yard.

I don’t even mind cleaning this time of year. I love opening the windows and shaking out the rugs. I have already cleaned both my front and back porches. I have already scraped some of the siding where the paint was peeling in anticipation of repainting and residing small portions of the house this summer.

So, uh, where was I going with all of this? I have no idea.

But we did take a walk to the library today. On of the things that I love about the town we live in is it’s Norman Rockwell like appearance with stone walls, tree lined streets, and old white picket fences.

If you want to see pictures of my kids on top of every stone wall we encounter, go here:

Watch Out For Children

Posted by Chris @ 3:58 pm | 28 Comments  

A, B, C….something

April 7, 2006

Some people post videos of their kids to show how smart and precocious they are. Me, I’m just glad they are cute, because clearly MENSA is not going to be knocking down our door anytime soon.

Posted by Chris @ 8:19 pm | 36 Comments  

All Male Readers Will Want to Skip This One, Trust Me

For the first time since June of 2002, and the sixth time since early 1994, I got my period.

(Okay male readers, who thought they would stick around and read anyway. Don’t hurt yourselves clicking the red X up in the corner there. Single file, no pushing please.)

It’s been so long, in fact, that when first noticed my initial thought was, ‘Ohmygod I’m bleeding. I must have some sort of cancer. I must be dying.’ Then I realized with increasing clarity that I was going to have to deal with this every month. Every. single. month.

I had no supplies of any sort in the house and had to run out to the local convenience store, where you pay an exorbitant amount of money for the convenient factor, and my son wanted know what those wrapped up stick things were and why I needed a box of little pillows. And I answered, “Hey what is that over there? a whole aisle of candy?”

I had half hoped that I would just skip into an early menopause and never have to deal with this whole menstruating thing again. It’s is just so pointless now that I am done having babies.

Then when I came home I realized that all of our bathrooms have pedestal sinks with no real storage to speak of. Unless I want to find all the maxi pads stuck to the wall and the tampons floating in the sink, I will need to keep them out of the bathroom.

Thus concludes the TMI portion of this post.

This next sentence I am almost afraid to utter out loud… or type, for fear of retribution, like that last time I mentioned it and was forced to issue an apology.

For the past two nights my 15 month old has …. lept-say ru-thay the ight-nay*.

Did you get that? As in eight or nine hours straight. Yessssss!

*My kids asked me if pig latin was a real language and could fulfill their foreign language requirement.

Posted by Chris @ 9:10 am | 35 Comments  

Tar-jay, How I Loved Thee

April 6, 2006

I grew up in a smallish city, went to college in a big city… and then another college in another big city. And even though I now live in a ruralish town of 1000 I still think of myself as more of a city person, a displaced city person.

I realized yesterday that I most definitely am NOT a city girl. Excuse me while I pick the hayseeds out of my hair.

I came to this realization when I went to Target in the smallish city.

First off the Target is a multi level complex with it’s own parking garage. I pulled into the parking garage and promptly rammed the roof of my big van into the hanging pole with the height restriction written on it. Then I had to wait for the huge line of cars behind me to back up one by one so that I could back up. Let’s just say driving my big van in reverse is not one of my strong points, and if you could see my front lawn, or talk to my husband, you’d know this. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like not being able to fit your vehicle into the garage.

I was then directed to park in this small, dark side lot where the reject vehicles must park. It was empty, dark and scary. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like being scared of an innocuous parking garage. In the country we park outside! In an open parking lot! The way God intended!

But I had my sights set on the bulls eye and would not be deterred.

I walked really quickly to the elevator that would bring me up to the store. I got on the elevator and realized that there were two shopping floors in this Target. Yes, two full floors! Two full floors of things I didn’t know I needed and yet now cannot possibly live without. I was in the elevator with three men. I smiled, “Hi. How are you?” I said to the one who made eye contact with me. They all looked at me as if I were a complete nutcase, gave me a cursory nod, and went back to examining the floor, walls, and ceiling. I forgot, city people don’t make eye contact with strangers or …gasp… talk to them. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like talking to strangers.

When the elevator doors opened I gasped, so great was my delight. I had to hold onto the wall to steady myself.

This Target was unlike any I have ever seen. To say it was huge would be an understatement. I imagine I must have looked like a country girl who goes into the big city, stands in the middle of the sidewalk, looking up at the skyline, mouth hanging open… except that I was in Target, looking at housewares, and the throngs of people I was holding up were shoppers trying to get off the elevators.

I walked around looking at stuff. I had really gone in to buy the kids Easter stuff and realized it was on the second floor. In the center of the store was an escalator. And there was a separate escalator for your cart. I have never seen such a thing. I stood there for a few minutes looking at it. If I had my camera I would have taken a picture of it, completing the country bumpkin image. I couldn’t figure it out, and, since city people don’t talk to strangers or offer help of any kind, I took my things out of the cart and carried them up to the second floor on the people escalator. My new welcome mat was filled with shame, hoping the other housewares didn’t see it.

I found all the Easter stuff and filled my cart with it, as well as other things that just jumped in there to keep the welcome mat company. Once my cart was filled to the top, I went to the check out. That part of the experience was just like it is at home. Surly teenager with a poor attitude tossing my stuff without care into plastic bags. It warmed my heart to know that some things are universal.

I got in the elevator with my cart to go back down to the parking garage. I was still very pleased with my Target experience. I went push my cart out the door and the wheels on the cart locked up. Not to be deterred I pushed and shoved and bent down to examine the wheels. I wondered if I was on Candid camera and looked around for Allen Funt, before realizing he was dead. I was confused and bewildered. Why was my cart no longer working? The city people offered no help or comments and just pushed past me, letting the door shut in my face.

I dragged my cart with it’s unmoving wheels off to the side and that is when I noticed the sign. The sign that said carts are not allowed to leave the building and once you reach this point the wheels will lock up, rendering the cart as useful as, well, a heavy, metal cart with no wheels. If I had my camera I would definitely have taken a picture of the sign.

I stood there for a few minutes, and I’ll admit I said “What the fuckity fuck?” so great was my exasperation at this situation. But those city folk, they didn’t even seem to hear me… or notice me … with my big overflowing metal albatross. And none of them offered any assistance. There was no one standing at the door to help you bring your purchases to your vehicle like at home.

So I put the plastic bags on my arms and marveled at how heavy jellybeans are when you buy twenty bags or so of them. And I walked out of the store, the flesh being torn off of my forearms. But that was okay since I was also losing feeling in my arms because the plastic handles were cutting off the circulation.

And really it was all worth it, because it was Target.

I walk to my van, in the scary, dark, deserted parking area. Open the back doors and begin tossing the stuff in.

(Have I ever mentioned that I startle easily? No, well I do. It drives Rob crazy because I scream involuntarily whenever I am startled.)

Anyway, there I am half in the back of my van when I hear, “Hey!”

I turn around and there is a man standing about 2ft away from me. I let out a blood curdling scream. He jumped back through the air a few feet, startled by my scream.

“What do you want?” I asked, and not in a friendly sort of way. More like a I’ll cut you if you answer me wrong way.

“I, uh, was trying to get you attention for awhile now.” he said looking around.

“Why? What do you want?”

“Uh, is there an elevator in this direction?”

“I have no idea.” I answered. Got into my van and slammed the door. I still have my bitchy city girl ways lurking under the surface I suppose. But I’m a big believer in listening to that inner voice.

(The more I thought about the exchange later, the weirder the incident seemed. Why would you follow a woman from the entrance, the well lit entrance where the elevators are shining like a beacon through the dark parking garage?)

I drove off, out of the parking garage, and was stopped by the booth with the wooden arm blocking my path. I had to pay for the privilege of parking. “Where I live parking is like our air, clean and free. Yessirree. Just like the good Lord intended it to be. ” And then I replaced the hay stalk in my mouth, adjusted the bib on my overalls, and drove off.

Posted by Chris @ 7:42 am | 44 Comments  

To Do List, the Annotated Version

April 5, 2006

I like to make lists. I’ll admit I am not very good at actually following through and doing the things that are on the list. Somehow just writing the items down makes me feel like I have accomplished something. And yes, I’ll admit, I often add things to the list after I have done them just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off.

Today my list includes:

1) Put away laundry
2) Drink large cup of coffee done
3) Get dressed done
4) Mop the kitchen floor in anticipation of babysitter coming over to the house today oh well
5) Instill the fear of death into certain children if they misbehave for the babysitter later today done, and from what I heard it was quite effective
6) Go to dentist and have stitches from gum surgery removed done, ouch
7) Mentally beat self up for forgetting the tooth fairy last night done, done, and done again 8) Walk 2 miles on treadmill done in spite of myself and my supreme bargaining abilities
8.5)try to convince self that today is not a good day for walking on the treadmill done
9) Complain excessively over the fact that it is SNOWING in April done, over done some might say
10) Change a poopy diaper, and another,and yet another done
11) Yell at children for running through the house like a bunch of wild animals done
12) Think about what to make for dinner done
13) Decide to think about it more fully later done
14) Make dinner done well, I made sauce and meatballs in the crockpot for Rob to serve the kids when he got home
15) Wash 3 loads of laundry what the hell else is new
16) Fold 3 loads of laundry from today, and the 3 from yesterday the bane of my existence
17) Put all six loads away (Just noticed I wrote this on my list twice… and ignored it twice!)
18) Ask 8 yr old if he’d like to cough in my face a few more times, because nothing says love like a face full of spittle done
19)Shop at Target oh yeah, and this deserves a post all of it’s own
20)Scrub toothpaste off of bathroom wall done, but why must the kids wipe toothpaste on the wall
21) Take money out from my wallet and put on table for the tooth fairy done, hope she remembers to put it under the pillow
22) Check email like I need to put this on a list
23) Drink my diet vanilla Dr Pepper, which is like the bastard child of cream soda and Dr Pepper or this
24) Type this post done, but good Lord I don’t think I have ever written a more boring post

Posted by Chris @ 11:19 pm | 21 Comments  

How to Eat An Oreo

April 4, 2006

I swear I didn’t teach him this.

What I didn’t catch on video was the smashing of the chocolate cookies that followed shortly after.

Posted by Chris @ 12:08 pm | 37 Comments  

This, That, and the Other

This morning I woke up and it was snowing. Snowing.

Last week it was almost 70 degrees; the flowers and plants were poking up through the dirt. We had our first flower tragedy when my 15 mos old came over to the purple crocus we were all crouching over in admiration and promptly stomped upon it. And my yelling just caused him to giggle and march up on down upon the poor flower with both feet.

But today it is snowing.

And we have our first baseball practice of the season. The never ending little league season. This year I have three kids on three different teams, with three different practice schedules, three different game schedules, and three different locations for all these things. And there is still just one of me.

On top of it, I still have sick kids. Whatever virus or flu they have contracted has a really long incubation period and takes several days to recover from once they show symptoms. I consulted Dr Google this morning and they either have the flu, meningitis, or African sleeping sickness. After I freaked out and caused myself all the mental anguish I could muster, I realized that four of the kids have already gotten sick and recovered just fine so there is no reason to believe that whatever they have is fatal.

Also, the children haven’t been to Africa, in, well… ever.

I haven’t gotten ill yet. knock on wood. And I hope to keep it that way. This morning I walked around with my spray can on Lysol, spraying it’s germ killing goodness on every surface my children have even looked at over the past week. I did stop short of spraying them with it, though just barely.

I will now be donning my respirator mask, hazmat suit, and rubber gloves, which will make typing a bit more difficult. But should have the benefits of keeping me warm at the baseball field and keeping all the people, who would like nothing more than to infect me with their germs, away from me.

Posted by Chris @ 10:30 am | 17 Comments